Comvita staff around New Zealand are heading home with the news restructuring could mean redundancies for some.

Comvita chief executive Scott Coulter said all staff at the Paengaroa office were called together for a meeting this afternoon and staff in Timaru, Nelson and Auckland were also phoned in to the announcement.

"We're doing some restructuring in New Zealand and we've just entered this process. We've only just started talking with staff," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

"We've just said we're doing a review and there could be some redundancies. We will be working with our teams over the next few weeks. We're working through every area."


He said there had not yet been any decision on the number of redundancies or what parts of the business would be affected.

"Many of the teams don't know if they are being affected or not," he said. "It will affect most areas in the business."

Mr Coulter said the business did do regular reviews but the current round of restructuring was partially in response to a "softer period".

"The trading period April [2015] to June [2016] has been softer."

That result had prompted a review of the business and the restructure was part of that, he said.

"It's something we do across all the business units that we run. We review them. We've done most of the world."

Comvita had been in a real growth phase so the New Zealand operation had not been reviewed for some time, Mr Coulter said.

"We've got an efficiency basis. We've said publicly that it's a tougher environment and we're trying to make sure that we continue to grow and thrive in the Bay."

In August the company posted a 15-month profit of $18.5 million in the 15 months ended June 30 after Comvita changed its balance date.

Comvita reported profit of $17.2 million in the 12 months ended March 31, 2016, and had said that because the April-June quarter was typically Comvita's quietest the 15-month result was likely to be in line with the 12 months to March 31.

At the time of the profit announcement Mr Coulter said Comvita had "experienced softer trading conditions as a result of the slowdown in demand in the Chinese market".

"This has been caused by a reduction in growth in the Chinese economy itself, as well as the introduction of a number of new regulations in that market that have created uncertainty in the re-export market distribution channels out of New Zealand and Australia. With our direct access to the China market through our dedicated distributor, we expect to reduce the impact of any downturn in sales through the re-export channels."

Mr Coulter yesterday said it was a "very difficult time for everybody".

"Comvita's a very tight knit group.

"We try our best to look after our staff and it's not something we do lightly."

Globally the company employed about 490 staff with about 300 of those in New Zealand.

• The company was founded by Claude Stratford and Alan Bougen in 1974.
• It produces honey and health products made from bee products and other natural ingredients including olive leaf extract and omega.